Man Overboard (Sail)

Man Overboard under Sail

It is important to thoroughly undertsand techniques for recovering a man overboard (MoB)

Under Sail (quick stop)
This video is indicative of our MoB method. However, please read this page carefully as there are some fundamental differences: we always throw life-ring and dan-buoy; we always pick up with Mob to leeward; we find an approach at a wind angle of 60-70 degrees allows more flexibility if there is a wind shift.

The Reach-tack-reach method can be used if you feel it is unsafe to gybe.

Objective: To return as soon as possible to the MoB, deploying MoB equipment efficiently. To stop close to windward of MoB and recover via swim-step ladder

The Pick-up should be made with MoB to leeward. If it helps you remember the actions, memorise this list


Helm should immediately go through this list of actions

A - Alert Shout “Man Overboard”, blow emergency whistle on steering pedestal

S - Stop. Heave-to (usually quickest & safest) – do not leave MoB way astern

T - Throw. Throw the life-ring with drogue and light into water, take 5 seconds to organise before throwing. There are 4 life-rings, throw a plain ring first, if need be.

E - Engine. It is always safest to recover MoB under engine. If you can't start the engine, use our Quick Stop method below

R - Return to Mob.

N – Notify. Notify emergency services. Remind crew to activate EPIRB etc

Crew should work through this action list as quickly as possible

S – Spot and point at MoB. Never lose sight of them or you may not see them again

P – Press MoB button on chart plotter under spray hood

E – EPIRB. Activate EPIRB by sliding safety cover over the red button

L – Launch Dan-buoy with life-ring, light and drogue as near as possible to the MoB

L – Life-rings. Prepare remaining life-rings for immediate deployment – keep life-ring with floating rope safe until it can be thrown directly to the MoB when alongside

Our Quick Stop method

Beam reach away. A good beam reach will put you in the best position to make a quick recovery

Smart gybe turn, A quick gybe turn will position you slightly downwind of the MoB. A sloppy gybe can put you too far downwind, meaning a beat back to MoB

Close reach back to MoB at 60-70 degrees to the wind

Headsail away, feather mainsail. Roll away headsail as the boat starts the final approach - no flapping sail and sheets. Feather the main to slow the yacht. The keel stalls at 1.2 knots, so watch your speed

Stop close upwind of MoB. The lee will help the rescue and you’ll stay together.

Throw life-ring with floating line. If MoB can get into the life-ring, work them astern to the swim step ladder.

MoB will need help to board.

If MoB is incapacitated, a crew member in harness and tether may need to enter the water and assist with the rescue. But ensure you do not put that crew member at risk.

Once MoB is secure…
- Start 1st Aid
- Cancel the EPIRB and contact the emergency services by phone or radio to
- Cancel any further action by them

Training Manual Pages

Abandon ship to Liferaft

Man Overboard (Engine)

Man Overboard (Sail)

Medical Emergencies

Safe use of Ropes